- Diet & Weight Loss
5 Healthy Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
There are many quick fix diets around but they simply do not last. These types of diets make major changes to the system – changes that are not always healthy – and you can’t keep the up for the long term. Instead of yo-yo dieting, you need a weight loss plan that will help you lose weight and keep it off forever.
There are a few of these plans around, including Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Jenny Craig. They each offer a plan with healthy meal ideas, exercise tips and group support so people can lose weight that they have gained over the years but then maintain that once they get to goal. I have followed one of these for three years now and constantly gained great results. I’m not quite at goal yet but I am definitely getting there.
I have learnt a lot of useful tips from these plans and I really believe that they are worth sharing. Here are my five top tips to lose weight and keep it off.
Eat Fewer Calories than You Burn
That doesn’t mean you have to cut your daily calorie intake down by 500! That is something you will hear time and time again from the quick fixes but it is not a long term solution. 500 calories is about one to two pounds so just cut out 500 per week. That is much easier to do and will make it easier to stick to for the long term.
If you eat too many calories, your body stores the extra ones and that turns to fat. The body burns calories just by existing. This is dependent on your age, current weight, sex and lifestyle but can be worked out your resting metabolic rate quite easily with calculators online. You may be surprised to find out that this is much less than the 2,000/2,500 daily calorie intake recommended for women/men. For example, my resting metabolic rate at this time is 1,505 calories!
If you do go over your calorie intake for the day, don’t worry; there are ways that you can burn more – by doing exercise! The more exercise you do, the more calories you will burn but don’t use this as an excuse to eat anything you like. Also, don't rely on exercise to always burn the excess calories but know that it is there to help.
Stick to a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Diets that cut out one food group are not healthy for you. The body needs a balanced diet and that even means eating fat! In fact, 10% of the diet should be taken up with fat – the healthier kinds – with the remaining made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fibre. Getting a good mixture will not only help you lose weight but keep it off too.
It is true that some carbohydrates and fats are better for you than others, so concentrate on getting them into your diet more. For example, switch your white bread and pastas for the whole grain and brown options. Switch your polyunsaturated fats for monounsaturated ones. These little changes go a long way to helping you change your habits to make your weight loss much easier to maintain.
Proteins and fibres are much better for your diet. This is mainly because you end up eating less when you eat more of them. These two food groups are broken down by the body slowly so their energies are released over the course of time and not all at once, like with some carbohydrates and fats. This helps you feel fuller for a longer time period so you are less likely to snack!
Fill Half of Your Plate with Vegetables/Fruit
Vegetables and fruit are excellent sources of fibre and carbohydrates and well work filling your plate with. I highly recommend that you fill at least half of your plate with these. They are low in calories but will help you feel fuller. The extra nutrients will also help you feel better about yourself, healthier and protect you from many illnesses and diseases.
This doesn’t meant that your meals have to be boring. There are some great ideas scattered around the internet to make your fruit and vegetables tasty. You could cook a vegetable lasagne or a vegetarian cottage pie. If you love your desserts, try a meringue nest with chopped fruit and some ice cream/cream. You will start wondering why you made such a big deal about getting your five a day.
Drink Plenty of Water
The body needs water to survive. In fact, when you feel hungry it may be your body’s way of telling you that you are thirsty. Before you decide to grab a snack, have a glass of water and wait to determine whether it really was hunger that you were feeling. Have at least eight glasses of water per day – although avoid drinking more than 4 litres every day as it is possible to drink too much!
When I saw drink water, it doesn’t mean that you just have to stick to plain old water. Yes, that can get boring. You will get water from other sources, including your fruit and vegetables, cups of tea/coffee and any soups that you have. You could also opt for fruit juices and squash. The benefit of pure water is that there are no calories so you can have as much as you like!
Eat in Moderation
Crash diets make you cut out all your favourites so you lose weight. This makes then unsustainable. If you tell yourself that you are not allowed something then that will be all you want. You will focus on it so much until you give in. If you do manage the whole diet saying no, you will overcompensate when the diet finishes and eat too much of it.
You can have your cake when you are losing weight; you just have to eat it in moderation! Say yes to a chocolate bar but only have one or two squares and then put the rest away. Say yes to that slice of cake but only have the one! By saying yes, psychologically you won’t want as much. You also learn more about food and what it does to your body. This change in habit will help you lose weight and keep it off for the long term.
Take your time to lose weight. A healthy weight loss is between one and two pounds per week. That is realistic, achievable and will help you make changes to your habits and diet along the way. Crash diets and “quick fixes” aren’t worthwhile so take your time to lose weight and keep it off in the future with the above five tips.